In Atlanta, if a building is old, there's a good chance someone wants to demolish it. One organization is attempting to save the 93-year-old Briarcliff mansion at 1260 Briarcliff Road from that typical fate. Built in 1920 for Asa "Buddy" Candler Jr., son of Coca-Cola Company founder Asa Candler, the Georgian Revival-style estate originally sat on 42 rolling acres. In its heyday, Briarcliff was home to Candler's personal collection of exotic animals, including a Bengal tiger, four lions, a black leopard, a gorilla, baboons and six elephants. The private menagerie eventually became the starting point for the Grant Park Zoo. It also featured two pools, one of which offered public swimming for 25 cents, a neon-lit fountain and Coca-Cola concessions. Today, the neglected house stands, boarded-up and vacant, on Emory University's property.
Passed between various organizations since the 1950s, the home has served as a hospital, rehab center and storage facility. Since taking possession of the mansion in 1998, Emory has allowed it to deteriorate rapidly. In 2007, the DeKalb Historic Preservation Commission notified Emory of demolition-by-neglect violations, requiring the university to address concerns that were leading to significant damage. Eight years later, with boarded up windows, an incomplete roof and a crumbling interior, it's likely only a matter of time before the mansion is rendered un-salvageable once again.
A group called Save Briarcliff has created a website to bring attention to the derelict beauty's plight and encourage Atlantans to reach out to Emory and plead for preservation. Follow Save Briarcliff/Candler Mansion on Facebook for updates or visit the group's website to get involved (and/or see haunting photos of the abandoned building's interior).